CINCINNATI—Cancer survivorship is an up-and-coming component of cancer care that many institutions are trying to programmatically develop and navigate as the number of survivors continue to increase.
According to the American Cancer Society, there are now more than 14.5 million cancer survivors in the United States and that number is expected to grow to nearly 18 million by 2022.
With this in mind, and a hope to enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors through patient-centered care beginning at the time of diagnosis, the University of Cincinnati (UC), Indiana University and Ohio State University have formed a consortium to improve survivorship education and delivery in this area of the Midwest.
The collaboration, named the Midwest Consortium for Cancer Survivorship Education and Research, or SEdR (see-der), is a way to combine the strengths of all involved institutions and develop a survivorship education program for advance practice providers, nurses and eventually physicians. The partnership will also involve collaborations on research projects as well as development of best practices for cancer survivorship care delivery.
"This is an exciting collaboration which will help us educate providers on survivorship care and its delivery,” says Beverly (Bev) Reigle, PhD, associate professor in the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing and director of the UC Cancer Institute’s Cancer Survivorship Program. "Survivorship is still a fairly new field, and the consortium will help us come together to design a curriculum, helping us educate on the meaning of cancer survivorship and strategies for program implementation. It’s not only about follow-up for surveillance of cancer, but includes surveillance beginning at diagnosis, prevention and management of treatment-related effects, health promotion and comfort measures.
"It’s all-encompassing and assesses all aspects of a patient’s needs for the best experiences and outcomes and involves effective communication with the patient, the primary care provider, members of the oncology team and, when appropriate, transition of care from one provider to another.”
Reigle says the geographic proximity between these institutions made this collaboration seem like a perfect fit. She has been working particularly close with Dori Klemanski, clinical director of survivorship at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center—Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute, and Holly Goe, vice president of IU Health Cancer Centers, to bring the partnership to fruition.
Members of the consortium "meet” regularly through conference calls and correspond via email. A quarterly, in-person gathering will allow members to discuss updates face to face.
"This is a way to leverage the expertise within all of these institutions and programs to create our own education curriculum for cancer survivorship,” she says, adding that while the initial focus is on advance practice providers like nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants, the scope will expand to include researchers, administrators, physicians and various other cancer-related practitioners. "We’re just getting started, but the formation of SEdR is a positive step in improving the way we care for patients living with cancer.”